The Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal ruled on Thursday that the College of Physicians and Surgeons were right to warn the head of cardiology at Eastern Health about texting at work — specifically sending inappropriate messages.
The text messages in question were between Dr. Barry Rose, and the now former wife of James Hynes on Sept. 1 and 2, 2010.
The messages were sent while Rose, the chief of Cardiology for Eastern Health, was between surgeries.
Hynes found them on his wife's cell phone and made a complaint to the College of Physicians and Surgeons on Oct. 31, 2011.
Rose's lover sent the physician graphic sex messages and he would respond: "You're endangering my patients. You can't seriously expect me to concentrate after a text like that."
"OK, I'm going to see if someone can fill in for me. I'm weak."
"You are making it very difficult for me to think of the poor lady on the table ... I will be fumbling about."
In one message, Rose said he was going to make a lot of money.
Hynes felt this was conduct unbecoming of a physician, and that Rose should be sanctioned. The college heard the complaint and ruled that since no patients had been harmed, Rose did not need to be disciplined.
In the written decision, the college said, "Dr. Rose should refrain from making comments such as those made in this case."
Not good enough
After the initial decision was made, Hynes filed an appeal.
His lawyer, Randy Piercey said the texts were contemptuous of Rose's patients, and the complaint should have been sent to a disciplinary committee.
Rose's lawyer, Peter Browne, argued the texts were private, and should not have been brought before the college in the first place.
Browne said that Hynes didn't do this for the benefit of patients, but to embarrass Rose. Browne also said that the weakened and fumbling remarks were exaggerated.
Justice Carl Thompson concluded that the college's treatment and ruling was appropriate.